Jul 10, 2020
The news has been full of the national debate about voting via mail for the past several months. In Massachusetts, the debate is over. The legislature and Governor recently signed a new law, which allows Voting by Mail.
This new law was passed in Massachusetts early this month and allows all registered voters to vote by mail in any 2020 election, with no excuse required.
If you need to register to vote or need to transfer your registration because you have moved to a new community, you can use the online voter registration system online. If you cannot register online, you may still register without leaving your home by sending a mail-in voter registration form to your local election office. If you need to register to vote in person, contact your local election official about their ability. Information on contacting local election offices may be obtained by calling 1-800-462-VOTE (8683).
The voter registration deadline for all elections in 2020 will be 10 days before any election.
Vote by Mail Applications
A Vote by Mail application will be mailed to every registered voter (registered in MA by July 1), and who has not already requested an absentee ballot for the State Primary or for all elections in 2020. A second mailing will be sent out in September to all voters who have not already applied for a Mail-in Ballot for the November election. The applications will be pre-addressed to your local election official and no postage is necessary.
The Vote By Mail application requires the signature of the registered voter. This signature must be similar to your hand-written signature. You can sign your name on a computer or phone using a mouse, finger, or stylus. Typed signatures are not acceptable.
Vote by Mail applications must be delivered via USPS mail service, email, fax, or in person to your local election office no later than four business days before the election. For a State Primary ballot, your application must reach your local election office no later than August 26. For a State Election ballot, your application must reach your local election office no later than October 28.
If you wish to vote by mail, you must submit a Vote by Mail application, and acyou are strongly encouraged to return your application as early as possible, to make sure that you will receive your ballot in time to return it and have it be counted.
Vote by Mail applications are also available for download (see address at end of this article), and may also be requested from the MA Elections Division by calling 1-800-462-VOTE (8683) or emailing email@example.com.
Once your application has been received, your Mail-in Ballot will be sent once the ballot is finalized. You can use the MA website to track your Mail-in Ballot request. If your Mail-in Ballot has already been mailed, you will be able see the date is was mailed. If the website cannot find a record for you, that may mean that your application hasn’t been received yet and you should call your local election office.
Your Mail-in Ballot envelope will be pre-addressed and postage paid. There will be an affidavit on the outside of the envelope that you must sign. Failure to sign this affidavit will cause your Mail-in Ballot to be rejected. Once you have voted via mail, you can go to the state website and “Track Your Ballot” to ensure it has arrived and been counted.
All of this information and more can be found on the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website at www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/covid-19/covid-19.htm. For those without internet access, information is available by phone at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683).